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Subject: Do you do Cthulu? - First Review of Arkham Horror rss

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Richard Maurer
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During my free time between classes at college, I pull out a variety of board games to pass the time and to spread the knowledge of board games among the younger generation. One guy in our gaming group kept talking about a game called Arkham Horror which I had seen at several conventions, but I had been unable to play. Yesterday, he finally brought the game and I managed to round up two other people, so we delved into the Cthulu mythos.

The game itself is visually appealing and follows the Lovecraft stories in story and game components. As the game continued, I found myself picking out names and places that I had read about in Lovecraft's novels and telling the other game players about the related stories. I think that I even convinced one to pick up his novels from the library.

The game play itself reminds me very much of the cooperative play from other games like Battlestar Galactica and Shadows over Camelot. I found many similarities in card play, bad events, and activities to Battlestar Galactica which I throughly enjoyed playing. Plus my experience with these two previous games helped me in learning the rules faster than my other two game players.

I won't bore the reader with a long story about our adventures through Arkham, but I had some interesting moments throughout the game.

*I made it to a gate only to be lost in time and losing all my sanity due to a monster coming after me in another dimension. After receiving a delirium card, I decided to brave the unknown again and went to another portal to close it only to discover a statue created for myself in the future and thus I was able to get rid of my madness card. Awesome luck!
*I collected the most clue tokens by the time our God appeared and combined with my character's ability to re-roll any unsuccessful dice, I was able to roll an epic thirteen hits on our enemy in one attack.
*

The good points about the game are the coopertive component and the rich adventures that can happen throughout the game play. We all were working together in a common cause and some players had difficult choices deciding whether to help the team or help themselves. It is these choices that can determine if the group will win or lose the game.

Also, the theme and adventure emerse the player in a dark and exciting experience much like a horror movie. You are fighting against the forces of darkness and trying to save the world from a great evil god. What can be more cooler than that?

The downsides to the game are length and dice rolling. While I being a patient person have no trouble with either of these areas, I can see other players shying away from this game. While our game moved pretty fast, it did seem to drag and take some time to finally do anything note worthy. Our moves were mostly divided between killing monsters, collecting clue tokens, and trying to wind up in advantageous locations. I could see some players getting bored easily with this mechanic.

As many game players know, the old gripe against dice rolling can be made against this game as well. While I have no trouble with dice fests, I can see several players getting upset with the bad die rolls that can result from a bad run of luck especially when it results in you going insane or dying just before completely an important objective.

More of an observation from my Battlestar Galactica and Shadows over Camelot experience, I think the game would be significantly more interesting if a traitor element could be added to the game. Basically, one person is under the influence or secretly follows the Ancient Gods. This player will work secretly to undermine the investigators efforts to close the gates or to fight against the forces of darkness. The suspicion of an enemy within only adds to the dark and sinister atmosphere of the game.

All in all, I really enjoyed this game and am looking forward to future plays. I like the game theme and see a lot of replayability possible especially with all the game expansions which my friend has. If our luck holds, we can hopefully stop the forces of darkness from taking over the world. Unless of course, a certain player decides that it wouldn't be a bad thing. devil
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JH
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Nice review.

Sounds like you were playing with some expansions; do you know which ones? One of them has a mission called "Join the Winning Side." If you draw it, you can do just what you asked for — you work against your team and bring about the return of the Great Old One if you succeed (you have to sacrifice a number of allies around the city, I believe), thus winning the game solely for yourself.

As a regular element I think it would make the game kind of ridiculous — it takes a seriously crazy person to want to help bring one of these things into the world, and the traitor element doesn't fit well with the way the game is set up — but as a special case it sounds like it's up your alley.
 
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Rauli Kettunen
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Arkham Horror » Forums » Reviews
Re: Do you do Cthulu? - First Review of Arkham Horror
Sarcasmorator wrote:
Nice review.

Sounds like you were playing with some expansions; do you know which ones? One of them has a mission called "Join the Winning Side." If you draw it, you can do just what you asked for — you work against your team and bring about the return of the Great Old One if you succeed (you have to sacrifice a number of allies around the city, I believe), thus winning the game solely for yourself.

As a regular element I think it would make the game kind of ridiculous — it takes a seriously crazy person to want to help bring one of these things into the world, and the traitor element doesn't fit well with the way the game is set up — but as a special case it sounds like it's up your alley.


Whaddaya mean, work against the team ?

Bad form to quote oneself, but it's relevant (from a post over on FFG forums):

"Lowdown on how it all went down:

Solo game, random chars (as always), drew Leo Anderson as the first one (4 investigators), started with Zebulon Whateley AND a Task that had an Ally as one of the reward. Granted, wasn't thinking about JtWT at this point. But the pre-game Mythos card had dropped a 2nd Clue Token on STL and Leo went to grab the tokens, also getting Ruby Standish while at it. Now I was thinking maybe. Would you know it, Bob Jenkins was next, shopping at the Curiositie Shoppe, drew 2 weapons and JtWT. Though about it for a bit, then said what the hell, I'll go for it. Next turn, Kate Winthrop went shopping drew Holy Water, something and Dhol Chants. As they said in South Park just yesterday: "It's ON!" By turn 6, Leo had 4 allies and JtWT. Yes, I had all four investigators working as a team to get Leo to JtWT! First 3 drop-offs went without a hitch, but seemed like the fates were trying to prevent it, as Leo had gotten Blessed by an encounter at the Science Building and failing rolls in the OW gets you LiTaS'd. Anyway, Leo dove into the Abyss, 1st encounter was beneficial only. 2nd one however was monster appears. I'd shifted Leo's Will to max (to prevent insanity and the chance of getting the Ally remover Madness) and that only left him with 1 Fight and no Weapons. Monster turned out to be Color Out of Space, which luckily in this case, will beat you up if your fight is at 1! "

Card clearly states "you WIN the game". Win = win, right ?


 
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Richard Maurer
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Yeah, my friend was telling me about this expansion where you could do that. You might be right and I have only played the game once. Plus Shadows over Camelot and Battlestar Galactica don't come close to Arkham Horror. I just like the whole traitor aspect because you never quite know who is working for you or against you. Nothing is more fun than "traitor talk."

I can't remember for sure which expansions my friend has. I know that he had Return of the Yellow King. He did say that he was looking for other expansions, but he was waiting until Christmas. I just hope that he gets them because I really want to play some more of this game.
 
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Richard Maurer
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True, but it is more fun with other players. laugh
 
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